Monday, September 26, 2016

Three and a Half Weeks Until Parent/Teacher Conferences!

I just love Parent/Teacher Conference time! Now don't misunderstand, I don't have loads of conferences, not too many come to see me (although I'm happy to see them when they do), but it IS a great time to showcase some amazing student work!  I've held back these beauties (I call them "It's Great to be King"):

It's similar to this lesson, except we used a bit of technology (thanks to student chrome books and Schoology) to add some selfies to truly be royalty. We added a bit of writing to explain the items we were holding and our overall look.

My original plan was to hang all three fifth grade classes of Royal Portraits by the front office, but now I'm torn.  Second grade made some pretty amazing self portraits--

We started working on frames for them today.
Sometimes CHOOSING is the hardest part.  Amazing Royalty Portraits?

Or amazing self portrait paintings by the front office?

Decisions, decisions!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Another Trip To Market To Market

Several years ago I wrote about this same lesson and I hadn't done that (this?) lesson since.  The book is so fun and rhyme-y and sing-songy that I really wanted to do it again.  First we read To Market To Market by Anne Miranda and drew a practice stack of animals in our sketchbooks.  

I bought this hard-backed copy on Amazon for a RIDICULOUSLY low price.

Next we printed our shopping carts.  This year I used old lamination (the extra part when something is laminated) taped to some random paper I had left over (I wrote their name on the lamination in Sharpie) and we used black acrylic paint to do the printing:

I ordered strawberry baskets on Ebay to print with.

Imagine a name written in Sharpie--this is one of my extras.
Students drew their stores with pencil and then traced in Sharpie:

I also gave each student a piece of paper to draw their animal stack on.  The paper was the right size to fit in their cart (assuming they drew a vertical stack of animals).  I believe (this is the moment where I leave my computer and go searching for the paper to measure) it was 12" x 4".  Students were encouraged to draw a "silly stack" of animals.  They drew with pencil, traced with extra-fine Sharpie and colored their animals with Crayola color sticks. 

When they were all colored, students cut out their animals, all in one continuous stack.
I then used my new Cool Shot hot glue gun to their animals into their carts:

Students then glued their animals (now in their carts) to their stores and wrote their own to-market-to-market on a small paper I gave them.  I just printed a few lines and a clip art of a shopping cart on paper (last time they did the writing in their classrooms but it took FOREVER and I'm not in a taking-forever sort of mood).

Oh, the frustration of not being able to rotate these pictures.
You have no idea of the time I've wasted trying to ROTATE.
Picture Ross screaming "PIVOT!!! PIVOT!!!!" on that stairwell on Friends,
and that's pretty much me right now.
And a few final shots of them hanging in the hall (though I'm not super happy with how they photographed--too much white):

Thursday, September 8, 2016

But What If It Rains?

Who here travels? Like, gets in the car part way through your day and drives to another school? Maybe one ten or so miles away? Hand in the air over here.  Now, I don't travel every year.  It's usually every other, or sometimes there's a bit of respite in there for a while.  But this year is my traveling year, and I was all prepared in my mind to spend one morning every third day of school at a school closer to my house, and BAM! few days before school started, the plan changed.  So I'm driving every third day around 1:45 to another elementary school and teaching two sections of second grade. I find it easiest to just teach exactly what I'm teaching to the second graders at my home school at the 'bonus' school, thus, the rolling cart:

On the mornings of my travel day, I teach second grade first thing and put everything I used in the cart for the afternoon/travel school.  Because I can't handle things rolling around while I'm driving I seat belt it in the front seat. Looking at that thing, I could not handle all the dust in every little crevice--guess when it sat unused in the corner of my room dust got everywhere and it's DISGUSTING.

Hmmm, doesn't look as dusty in the photo,
but TRUST, it was GROSS.
And then, (maybe because I'm the teensiest bit neurotic) I started wondering what happens when it rains? How will I keep all the supplies and examples in this cart dry? And I spent way too long thinking about it: if I simply cover it with a garbage bag it'll drip or won't cover it all or rip . . . I needed something better.
Yesterday was my travel day, Mr. One Happy Art Teacher was working late, and rain was in the forecast for this morning, so the time to act was right the very second I got home from school. I put my children to work cleaning everything with cleaning wipes while I pulled out fabric scraps from the mountain in my art and sewing room:

And got to work.  I want it to be water resistant, so I used some leftovers from my diaper making days (if you're looking for reasonably priced cloth diapers, check out one of my Etsy stores here).  No pattern, just a vague plan in my head lead me to lots of pinning:

This is the water proof diaper fabric (PUL), and if you're going
to make anything with it, a walking foot is a must for your sewing machine.
After sewing the lining, I got this:

Then I did the same pinning process for the outside:

It took a while, and I had to take a brief break to cook a nutritious meal for my children heat up Labor Day barbecue leftovers and throw some chips on plates. It would of been faster but I realized I couldn't sew the lining completely to the outer layer or in wouldn't go on (duh) and I still wanted to be able to seat belt the crate in.  Here's almost finished:

 Finally, I added flaps to the side to cover the cut outs for the seat belt holes, and buttons to keep everything secure.  This morning it DID rain, and I had to bring everything in, and it worked perfectly:

Now that it's done and working, it'll probably never rain on my travel day again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Overflowing Drying Racks

There is so much going on right now, we're so busy and in the swing of school FOR REAL these days.  Every morning I come to work and face overflowing drying racks (I love super-productive days like these)--this morning I put away paintings for kindergarten, first and fourth, collages from fifth and Gelli prints from sixth (and some make up acrylic paint prints in second).  
Our sketchbooks in sixth are still not done, but we're getting closer.  Here's the last (? maybe ?) video on how to bind sketchbooks:


I've been dropping videos in Schoology, and the students are really getting used to checking for them.  It's also nice because they can watch them over and over if they're confused and they get the same information every time.
I'm still trying to find a minute to have them print their nature papers to add to the back, and I've altered my idea (like that? It's a fancy way to say I totally changed my mind) to make sure that all are successful.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Job Security--If Only I Could Remember!

Here's (one of the many) great things about being an elementary art teacher--it's always someone's first time to ____________.  There are always going to be children who've never held scissors, or painted, or used papier mache.  This is job security!  In our technology/digital world art teachers are needed more than ever! Fine motor skills are important and creativity is vital! Now, if only I could remember this when I start lessons at the beginning of the year.  Yesterday I started Emily Carr landscape paintings with fourth grade and didn't demonstrate painting techniques at all! What is this? My first day?! Needless to say, I demo'd the heck out of some painting with my fourth graders today, and wrote DEMO in my plan book for fourth grade on Monday.
I also made a sketchbook measurement how to video for sixth grade (probably more for me and my remembering):


What would really be great would be to show this video to my classes on my Smartboard, but (GASP!) my Smartboard is not recognizing my computer these days.  Even with our tech person working on it, it's not happening.  On the plus side, our district started using Schoology this year, and my lack-of-Smartboard-having means I'm dropping things into Schoology and using that resource the second week of school.  But THAT means students have to carry their chromebooks to art AND I have to remember to email teachers to tell them.  And we all know remembering isn't always my strongest suit! 

What am I going to be like in 10-15 years? Forgetting to wear pants to school?  The older I get, the more I realize that art teachers may deserve the reputation as the kooky ones.  Or maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Starting Out with Sketchbooks

Let me just start out by saying, the things I forget from year to year could fill a book! A large volume at that.  There's always that adjustment period of remembering the pace of the day, but REALLY, I forget so much year to year, and even if I write it down I most likely never look at it later.  This is what happens after this many years, I guess.  So 'comfortable' with what I'm doing that reviewing the steps seems unnecessary until I get into it and think 'whhhhaaa? How is this supposed to work again?'  Case in point: the sketchbooks that my sixth graders make and use all year.  I blogged about it last year two years ago, and last year made the decision to make them half size.  This translates to cutting cereal boxes to 10 x 13" pieces (which I didn't remember resulting in having to cut several twice to get the size right). The first day of art we had time to go over the rules & procedures, then add our wet and stick tape:

Students folded their cereal boxes "like a card"
then put the wet and stick tape (sticky side down) on the folded edge--
this will be the spine of their sketchbook.
Little tip: have them cut the wet and stick to size,
and THEN hand out waters cups--otherwise your
rolls of tape will be ruined.
The second day of art students have started working on their covers (just drawings or designs).  Those are in the works now, and I have BIG PLANS for the back cover.  I made a video for students on Gelli printing with Payons:


The next time they come to art they'll be working on their covers, measuring their space for sewing in their pages, counting out their pages and Gelli printing in small groups (I only have five Gelli plates).
A few years ago, I ordered this:

Sorry for the sidewayness, although it looks ancient,
I really did get it last year.
The plan is to team-teach this part with sixth grade teachers, but I wanted to try it out and so I made this video explaining the setup:


Students won't see my final result until after theirs is done, but we're all adults, right?!  Here's mine after sun exposure and a cold water bath (and drying overnight):

It's going to be GREAT.  While the fast pace of the day leaves me a little woozy sometimes, being an elementary art teacher really is the best. I wish you all smooth starts to the beginning of your school years, interesting students, and loads of cash.  Hey, a teacher can dream, right?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ready or Not, HERE THEY COME!

If you've taught for a bit you know that back to school means more meetings than prep time, and if you're one of those come-weeks-early-and-get-your-room-perfectly-prepared then this is probably not the post for you.
Here's my room two days before students return:

Randomness abounds and NOTHING is up on the walls.  No new supplies in bins.  See those piles in the foreground on the table?  Those are all the sketchbooks that need copying.  I did try to copy them, and broke/jammed the copier.  Twice.
I did get two real things accomplished before Meet Your Teacher:

The hallway bulletin board that every child getting off the bus sees.
And my poster outside my door for this year:

The black strips are photos of student projects made to look like
old film strips--all thanks to my fabulous with Photo Shop husband.

It will all come together, I promise.  This year WILL BE FABULOUS.  Students will learn, time will march on.
Happy art teaching, friends! Hold on to your hats!
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